NSTAR, MIT and The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) are once again sponsoring the MIT Clean Energy Prize. The competition, now in its fourth year, is open to university teams across the country, with 80 planning to go head to head in areas that aim to diversify energy supplies, advance energy efficiency, or reduce environmental impacts from energy production, transportation and consumption.
The competition was created to help inspire and support some of the nation’s top minds to develop and commercialize innovative clean energy solutions. The top 25 finalists that will been chosen will receive mentoring and coaching from industry leaders as well as some face-time with interested venture capitalists. The top five teams will move on to compete for a $200,000 cash prize by showcasing their work at an event held in Boston, Mass. In a statement NSTAR pointed out that, to date, the competition has helped launch over twenty-eight companies that have secured over $85 million in investment capital and research grants.
“By bringing together the nation’s brightest minds, this competition helps spur clean energy innovation to protect the environment, strengthen energy security and create new jobs,” said Tom May, NSTAR Chairman, President and CEO. “The competition’s contribution to Massachusetts’ clean energy economy is an added benefit indicative of the state’s many educational institutions, strong clean energy policy leadership and entrepreneurial community.”
Past winners that have gone on to form companies in Massachusetts include: FastCAP Systems which is developing an energy storage system for hybrid vehicle batteries; Levant Power Corp which makes energy-recovering shock absorbers that reduce vehicle fuel consumption; and FloDesign Wind Turbine which has developed a high-efficiency wind turbine inspired by airplane jet engine designs.